May 22, 2013

Celebrating ASCAP - "We Write the Songs"

The Library of Congress is so much more than a building that houses books.  It is an institution that catalogues our American life--from music to art to our modern day tweets!

In fact, the Library's music division has over 20,000,000 items in its collection--it is the largest and most comprehensive music library in world. (U.S.A.!)

Every year, We Write the Songs is an event that celebrates the gift of the ASCAP Foundation (American Society of Composers, Authors and Producers) to the Library.  Realizing the historical importance of preserving music for generations to come, many of the composers and authors donate original manuscripts, lead sheets, lyric sheets, photos and letters to the Library's collection.  To give you an idea of the depth and breadth of the collection they have items from Irving Berlin to Bruce Springsteen, Duke Ellington to Johnny Cash to Beyonce.

Many times the author of a hit single is rarely recognized publicly and hardly gets as much attention as the singer.  For example, we got to watch Siedah Garrett perform the hit song that she wrote -- a little tune called "Man in the Mirror" - you may recognize that title from a Michael Jackson song.  Yep, she wrote it.  And yes--it was phenomenal.

These authors and composers spoke of their work, their struggles to make it and shared their stories. It was truly inspiring.

Mary Chapin Carpenter talked about her writing style and told us how she walks with her dogs and sings to them when she is stuck on a lyric.  Then she performed two songs with her guitar.

The last performer was the gentleman who wrote "Tomorrow" for the broadway hit Annie.  He said that hard times in America were his inspiration for the tune.  As he played and sung, tears welled up in my eyes.

It is easy to underestimate how much we are influenced by music in our daily lives.

Have you ever heard a song and been instantly transported back in time to a period in your life that was particularly poignant--whether it was happy or sad?

Then you know the ability of music and the strong tie it has to our lives.

After the incredible concert, we were treated to a special dinner in the Library's Great Hall - complete with a perfect view of the Capitol.

Cheers to our songwriters and their ability to make imprints on our lives!

1 comment:

  1. Whoa! I never even knew such an event existed! I bet that was so moving and memorable -- really makes you think about what a big role music plays in life. So cool - thanks for sharing Em!


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